The next two days I plan to look at meal planning. I believe good food is the centre of a flourishing home. And it’s much easier to cook good food if you plan well.
I know everyone is different – those who don’t plan their meals (I can’t work out how you know what to buy then!) or those who go every day and buy the food for that day. So if that’s what you do and it works for you, great! For those who struggle with meal planning, I thought today we’d talk about the master list of meals. Then tomorrow how to pull that into a plan.
Like the cleaning it’s about deciding what things are a priority for your household given the season you’re in – how well do you want to eat, is organic important, etc. Food for us is a big priority.
Organic or not
I think there are some foods where you totally can tell the difference if you’ve bought organic, chief is carrots. Then probably apples. Organic carrots are on another level of flavour, honestly if you’ve not tried them you should! We certainly don't buy everything organic by the way - just some fruits and veggies.
We also make sure we buy ethically produced meats. So our Sunday roast is always an organic chicken which means the farm is an organic farm as well as the chicken being free range and fed proper food.
These are priorities for us so we make adjustments elsewhere in the budget to purchase them.
How well do you want to eat?
Because of various allergies and the fact we prioritise food, we cook most meals from scratch – maybe once a week we use something that we didn’t prepare from the start ourselves.
Pros – it’s healthier, we know exactly what we’re eating and it’s a great way of involving the boys in what they’re eating in a way putting something into the oven doesn’t.
Cons – it takes more time and often is more expensive.
Once you know what your overall budget is and how much will be taken up on priority foods and how often you’ll be cooking from scratch then you can come up with a master list of meals, kind of like your full repertoire. Now, obviously not your dinner party recipes or ideas. Just everyday dinners.
The master list
I split my list up by protein source. Here are a few of our regulars:
Beef: chilli con carne / Bolognese / cottage pie / beef casserole / burgers / lasagne
Chicken: roast dinner / fajitas / chicken and wedges / chicken curry
Pork: pulled pork baps / sausage casserole / sweet potato hash with pancetta
Fish: pan fried sea bass / pesto salmon
Veggies: rice and bean wraps / omelettes / pasta / soup and toasties / stir fry
Tonight’s challenge is to come up with a list of all the ‘normal’ dinners you make. You don’t need detailed recipes – even ‘oven pizzas’, just come up with things you like eating on a regular basis!